Interview with a BizTalk Pro and Wiki Ninja: Colin Meade
We're continuing our Monday series, "Monday – Community Interview". Today it is Colin Meade a fellow BizTalk professional, who I met a few times in London during the BizTalk Integration Summits and UK Connected User Group meetings. We both enjoy a pint of Guinness, integration, a laugh and metal music.
I really appreciate Colin’s opinion of the TechNet Wiki:
I really like the dynamic nature of the content. Blog posts are rarely updated and can become obsolete very quickly as the technology evolves.
In a recent interview I asked Colin a couple of questions regarding the Wiki, his day to day job and the BizTalk community.
Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Colin Meade and I'm from Ireland. I have worked for a number of Microsoft Gold Partners in Ireland, both north and south, who specialize in integration. I have recently started my own consultancy, Treadstone Systems (www.treadstone-systems.com), which is based out of Belfast and is focused on helping organizations deliver integration solutions.
Working with BizTalk Server, and in the Integration space in general, has given me the opportunity to perform a number of different roles, from Developer to Technical Lead. However, my main responsibility over the last number of years has been as an Integration Solutions Architect.
I'm an active blogger, Microsoft Technical Communities Lead, TechNet Wiki and Code Gallery contributor. I also like to assist on the MSDN Forums when I can.
What are the technologies of your specialty?
I have been specializing in BizTalk Server for the last 8 years, and this is my main area of expertise, however over the last 4-5 years I've also done quite a lot of work with the ESB Toolkit. More recently I've been working on some Microsoft Azure Service Bus solutions. I've also spent some time working with BizTalk Services but only in a proof-of-concept capacity.
How did you get involved in the TechNet Wiki?
I started out contributing to existing articles on the TechNet Wiki, adding sections and content where appropriate, and I have recently started contributing articles myself. I found that the write-ups I was working on were better suited to a Wiki format than a post on my personal blog, so it was a natural choice to choose the TechNet Wiki to host them.
What do you do with TechNet Wiki, and how does that fit into the rest of your job?
I use the TechNet Wiki as the first port of call when researching a new technology or topic and also when I need a refresher on something I haven't used in a long time. As a source for BizTalk Server content it is second-to-none and the Service Bus content has proved invaluable for me recently too.
What interests you in the TechNet Wiki?
I really like the dynamic nature of the content. Blog posts are rarely updated and can become obsolete very quickly as the technology evolves. This is even more apparent with cloud technologies and Azure in particular where the content could become outdated within a few months. TechNet Wiki facilitates the ability to keep the content current and encourages community members to get involved and take responsibility for doing so.
Who impressed him in the community TechNet Wiki?
The articles published by Steef-Jan Wiggers around 2 or 3 years ago really ignited my interest in TechNet Wiki, particularly the BizTalk Server 2010: Tools article which is something I regularly reference. Another person who has really impressed me is Sandro Pereira. He has contributed greatly to the TechNet Wiki and did a wonderful job tidying up and formatting my first article when I was still getting to grips with the Wiki editor 🙂
I always keep an eye out for articles by Mike Stephenson too, but in general the quality of the content and contribution from everyone is impressive.
On what articles have you collaborated with other community members on #TNWiki? What was that experience like?
To-date I haven't collaborated on any articles from inception, but it is definitely something I would be interested in and can see the value of. Where possible, I like to have other community members do a technical review of my article before publishing to ensure that what I am putting out initially is accurate and provides a solid foundation for other community members to build on. I really enjoy this process, as I find that seeking an alternative perspective helps to reinforce and enhance articles.
What are your favorite articles you’ve contributed?
The BizTalk Server Sysprep article has been my favorite article to work on. There were many gaps in the original MSDN article on the topic and through working with different organizations over the years I've found it to be a regular request from infrastructure teams. From my own perspective as a developer/architect it allows me to get up and running on a fresh BizTalk Server machine in minutes or as a technical lead to on-board a new developer with minimal fuss and be assured that the team are working off a consistent configuration.
Do you have any tips for new Wiki contributors?
I would encourage new contributors to start off by enhancing existing articles. Pay particular attention to the styles and types of articles being published by the main contributors. This will give you a good idea of how you can contribute your experiences and knowledge to the wiki. When writing your first article, pick a topic you have a lot of experience in and are comfortable with. Start off with the table of contents and work through the different headings. Be sure to include screenshots to illustrate the content of your article.
Thanks Colin for all your dedication and support for the BizTalk community and your contributions to the TechNet Wiki.